Jul 15 2011

PRFO Submits More Blair Park Plans, But No Cost Estimates

In response to a public records request made on June 25th, the City provided the final master plans and traffic calming measures for the proposed Blair Park sports complex, which were submitted to the City by project architect Clarence Mamuyac three months ago, on April 1. Additional information was submitted by Mamuyac on April 7 and May 10.  To date, the City has not officially released any of the final plans to the general public; nor has the City Council set a date for a “final” public hearing on the proposed development.

Cost estimates for the construction, operation and maintenance of the project, which the Council requested in March, have not yet been provided by Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization  (PRFO), the project proponent.

The City must obtain a water permit from the Water Quality Resources Board for any project such as the proposed Blair Park sports facility, but no plans have been submitted by PRFO  for construction of an underground water storage reservoir, as required by the installation of an artificial turf field on Blair Park. Nor have any plans been submitted for relocating sewer lines that run under the park or for relocating electrical utilities.

On  May 10th, Mamuyac proposed several changes to  the final plans he submitted to the City in April (which were basically the same as those presented to the City Council on March 21st).  In a memo to City Administrator Geoff Grote, Mamuyac proposed moving the project’s west parking lot exit 30 feet to the east, which he stated “would eliminate the significant and unavoidable impact of inadequate sight distance from the exit driveway of the west parking lot as noted in the EIR.”  He said moving the exit would also require less grading and less retaining wall construction. He also proposed moving the baseball/softball field to the east end of the field to provide more room to build them and closer to existing grade; and building a sidewalk on Moraga Avenue the entire length of  Blair Park, “assuming,” he said, “traffic calming measures are adopted for Moraga.”   

In his April submittal to the City, Mamuyac noted that PRFO has “reduced and improved” its original proposal by converting the small recreation field to a passive open space with real grass, thus “reducing half of the traffic, parking and noise impacts noted in the certified EIR.”   The revised plan, he said, included “traffic mitigations” instead of  the proposed pedestrian bridge over Moraga Avenue, a new stair and walkway along the northern edge of the park, and a parking space on Moraga Avenue for Piedmont Police parking and access.

On April 7th, Mamuyac submitted a 10-page analysis of alternate traffic calming measures, prepared by Michael Moule of Nelson Nygaard Consulting Associates, to reduce traffic speeds and improve pedestrian safety on Moraga Avenue. The  traffic calming alternatives include: high-visibility crosswalk markings, illumination at night, pedestrian crossing islands, pedestrian warning signs, an in-street pedestrian crossing signal, roundabouts at Maxwelton and Red Rock Road. Calming traffic on Moraga could mean it no longer functions as an arterial street and may conflict with the City’s recent application for Federal Department of Transportation funds to repave Moraga based on its heavy use and arterial status.

On May 10th, Mamuyac submitted a two-phase construction plan for the project. Phase I consists of the large sports field (100 by 50 yards), two parking areas for a total of 40 cars, a small restroom, and a pedestrian crossing across Moraga Avenue at Red Rock Road, adjacent to Coaches Field.  Phase 2 includes the second grass field and an off-leash dog area.

At the July 13 Municipal Tax review Committee, PRFO representatives spoke in opposition to Committee member Steve Weiner’s proposals that the City obtain an independent cost estimate to build Blair Park and that PRFO place 10 years’ worth of the field’s maintenance costs in an escrow account.  PRFO General Counsel Eric Havian acknowledged, “We don’t have costs yet, but they will be guaranteed by Webcor before a shovel is in the ground. We can’t come up with 10 years of maintenance costs, but we can pay as we go annually.  This is not an issue the city should be concerned about.” He added, “Numbers are difficult, and what difference would they make? We’ll pay whatever it is. Or rent the field to cover costs.”

Weiner was not convinced by Havian’s assurances and said he wanted a stronger, more reliable way of protecting the City’s financial liability. “Blair Park,” he said, “is like the undergrounding project on steroids.”  Tax Committee member Steve Hollis supported Havian’s idea of the City making money by renting Blair Park to outside users.

City Administrator Geoff Grote has stated he will give 10 days public notice prior to further consideration of the Blair Park Moraga Canyon Project by the City Council.


LOT – Final Master Plan – Phasing

LOT – Final Master Plan

LOT – Traffic Mitigation Alternative

Blair Park – Traffic Calming Alternatives LOT + MEMO


One Response to “PRFO Submits More Blair Park Plans, But No Cost Estimates”

  1. The sewer system in Blair Park serves 25 homes on Scenic and Alta Avenues. And there is a 20” EBMUD active distribution line going across the widest part of Blair Park and other utility systems. Perhaps PRFO is relying on the LSA EIR at Sec. 6.4.2, pg. 368:

    “Utilities. Implementation of the proposed project would not require the construction of new or expansion of existing utilities . . . Therefore, the proposed project would not result in a significant cumulative impact to utilities and infrastructure.”

    The required total relocation of the existing Blair Park infrastructure and utilities is fundamentally significant. Yet the EIR does not analysis any potential environmental impacts of relocating these systems. The EIR’s finding seems contrary to reality and conclusory. PRFO/ELS must provide engineering plans, cost estimates and money in hand with contingency reserve for the relocation of these systems.

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